Reviewed by Chuck Rothman
Gio Clairval begins the new stories in the January/February Galaxy’s Edge with “Intersection,” which starts out after a car crash, one in which the narrator realizes that his wife loves Lester, not him. Confined to the hospital, he plots to take his revenge. But Lester is not what it seems. This is a clever conceit and the story does a good job of teasing out the facts, and knows not to go on too long for the idea.
“Imma Gonna Finish You Off” is a story about a murder in a future world where no one dies. Harry is a detective (at the moment) and tries to find out what happened and how someone was killed – by what the audience, if not Harry, knows is a vampire. Most mysteriously, he stayed that way. In the search, Marina J. Lostetter shows a very wacky society with a lot of bizarre assumptions and changes. It reminded me of the kind of off-kilter world building in Jasper Fforde’s Shades of Grey – seemingly random at first, but slowly painting a picture that’s funny and entertaining.
Mason Abner is a miner in “Dig,” the leader of a group mining a material on a far-off moon, who becomes lost. Supplies dwindling and with no help in sight, he works to keep the group together as they try to find a way out. Tina Gower‘s situation is inherently dramatic, if overly familiar, and the ending seemed to me to just pile things on. Not a bad story, by any means, but I found it too familiar to be engaging.
The next story is the work of French science fiction writer Jean-Claude Dunyach (translated by Sheryl Curtis). I always like to see science fiction from non-English-speaking authors, and find the stories fascinating (and would someone please translate more Andreas Eschbach?), since they bring a different perspective to the genre. “God, Seen from the Inside” is about Ellen, an astrophysicist who has discovered an anomaly in the universe: a giant, perhaps sentient cloud of ionized particles in the solar system – which only has 16 grams of mass. Her post-doc advisor, Anna Chatila is skeptical, but her boyfriend Max, who worked with her to discover it, believes it’s something almost like God. Dunyach draws a parallel between being inside the god and Ellen’s pregnancy, but I didn’t find the story’s ending particularly interesting.
“Through the Eons Darkly” is a dark time travel story, where Beatriz de Legarda is part of a project to travel back in time by entering the heads of people in the past. Beatriz finds herself traveling back into a mind whose perceptions are strange and who sees things no one can explain. The explanation is that she jumped into the head of a psychotic, but she slowly discovers another explanation – that the mind has traveled into the future with her. Brant Trent juggles several subplots along with the main one, plus some first-class characterization. The result is the type of chilling surprise that is a hallmark of all good science fiction.